Wheatley began his career as a short filmmaker and animator. He then eventually began making films and clips on the internet.
Wheatley caught the attention of the public after his 9-second video clip 'Cunning Stunt' became viral on the internet and accrued millions of views. The pre-'YouTube'-era clip showed his friend Rob Hill successfully jumping over a moving car. While he was shown celebrating his move, he was instantly wiped out by another oncoming vehicle.
Around this time, Wheatley also made short animations and games for the site 'Mr and Mrs Wheatley,' which caught the attention of several premier media companies. His work got promoted well. Thus, he started his journey as a filmmaker in the mainstream media.
Wheatley's next clip, 'The Viral Factory,' earned him an award at the 'Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.' Starting with TV, he wrote and created four episodes of the 2006 'BBC Two' satirical comedy 'Time Trumpet.' He also directed sketches for 'Comedy Shuffle' on 'BBC Three.'
Wheatley directed four episodes of the 'Channel 4' adaptation of the British comic 'Modern Toss' (2008) and six episodes of (also written by him) the 'BBC Three' comedy sketch 'The Wrong Door' (2008). Around that time, he was directing 'Modern Toss' and the 'BBC Three' dark comedy series 'Ideal' (2009–2010).
Along with Dave Walker, Wheatley had directed the TV special 'Steve Coogan: The Inside Story,' a spoof documentary on the career of the comedian.
Wheatley made his feature debut with the 2009 British crime drama 'Down Terrace,' which he finished directing in just 8 days. Apart from directing the movie, he wrote, produced, and edited it, too. Wheatley received the 'Fantastic Fest Next Award' for the ‘Best Film’ and the 'Raindance Jury Prize' for the ‘Best UK Feature,’ along with an 'Evening Standard British Film Award' nomination for the ‘Best Screenplay.’
Wheatley wanted to utilize his filmmaking lessons for the horror genre. His next directorial venture (written and edited by him, too) was the 2011 critically acclaimed British psychological-horror crime film 'Kill List.' He earned six nominations, including two for the 'British Independent Film Award' (‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Screenplay’).
Wheatley's third film, too, was highly acclaimed. The 2012 black comedy 'Sightseers' was written by its two lead stars, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, while Amy Jump assisted in writing and editing the movie. Besides winning the 'Evening Standard Peter Sellers Award for Comedy' and the 'BiFan Best of Bucheon,' the movie earned four nominations.
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Wheatly was the director of photography for a 30-minute show for a collaborative venture between 'Modern Toss Productions' and 'Channel X.’
Prior to the release of his fourth film, Wheatley worked as the executive producer of films such as 'The Duke of Burgundy' (2014), 'Aaaaaaaah!' (2015), and 'Tank 432' (2015). He also directed the first two episodes (in the eighth series) of the 'BBC' science-fiction drama 'Doctor Who.'
Wheatley directed (and edited) the 2013 historical psychological-horror 'A Field in England,' which was based on a screenplay written by his wife. The inspiration for the film came from a documentary about the historical re-enactment society 'Sealed Knot,' which he had filmed previously. Wheatley was awarded the 'Karlovy Vary Special Prize of the Jury' for the film.
He has also directed the music video for 'Formaldehyde' by British rock band 'Editors.'
Wheatley’s next project was the dystopian horror 'High Rise' (2016/2015), based on the 1975 J.G. Ballard novel of the same name. It received the 'TIFF Platform Prize.' He wrote and directed the 2016 action comedy 'Free Fire,' which won a 'TIFF People's Choice Award' and earned four nominations.
His next film, the 2018 British comedy–drama film 'Happy New Year, Colin Burstead,' earned one nomination each for the 'British Independent Film Award' (for the ‘Best Editing’) and the 'BFI London Best Film Award.'
In November 2018, Wheatley announced his next directorial project, the 'Netflix' romantic thriller 'Rebecca,' adapted from Daphne du Maurier's gothic novel of the same name. He has also been roped in to direct a sequel to the action–adventure 'Tomb Raider,' slated to be released in 2021.
Family & Personal Life
Wheatley's wife, Amy, is the co-founder of the blog 'Mr and Mrs Wheatley.' She is also a screenplay writer and editor. Jump has edited most of his films.
Wheatley and Jump have a son together, and they all live in Brighton.
Some of Wheatley's favorite films are 'Weekend,' 'Seven Samurai,' 'Brazil,' 'Phantom of Liberty,' 'Come and See,' 'Blade Runner,' '2001: A Space Odyssey,' 'The Ascent,' 'Performance,' 'Taxi Driver,' and all of Martin Scorsese's films.